Saturday, April 25, 2015

Brunch in the East #3: Baba Sus

Who wakes up at 8am on a Saturday morning with a craving for matcha (green tea)? Me.

And that's how I stumbled upon Baba Sus whilst I was adventurously looking for any cafes that served matcha (green tea) latte.

I turned to The Boyfriend, who was still fast asleep and excitedly gave him a little nudge. "Babe, wake up! Let's go for brekkie! I found a new place just next to Burwood Station."

It took me at least 30 minutes to drag the poor boy out of bed whilst chanting "Let's go, let's go!" the whole time. I must have been pretty annoying; sorry, my love!

Baba Sus was already pretty busy when we got there, and there was only one table left outside. We decided we'd brave the cold, all for the sake of my matcha latte.

I was really excited when my matcha latte arrived, but after having my first sip, I was a little let down. :(

It was alright, but it didn't hit the right spot. It tasted just like the ones I make at home but I was expecting something a little more, perhaps a little more unique or cafe quality, like tana cafe's.

Thankfully though the food made up for it. I had the corn and zucchini croquettes served with house-cured salmon, herb aioli, asparagus, frisee, and a gooey poached egg.

The dish was not only beautifully presented but also very delicious!! Here's a winning shot of the gooey golden egg yolk, streaming down the croquettes. Mmmm!

The Boyfriend on the other hand, really enjoyed the soba noodles served with tempura (king prawn, enoki, pumpkin), gooey tea egg, nori, daikon, and soy dipping sauce.

The tempura was fried to a crisp perfection, and went hand in hand with the soba noodles. We both love Japanese inspired breakfasts as they're rather light yet so satisfyingly delicious!

Service was friendly but a tad slow. Although having said that, I guess they were understandably busy. So whilst the food did take quite a while to arrive, it was worth the wait.

As Baba Sus is only a short 5 minutes drive from The Boyfriend's place, I see ourselves frequenting this Asian inspired local cafe in the near future. We're planning to cycle there next time and I look forward to trying their Hong Kong egg waffles and mocha then.

Baba Sus on Urbanspoon
Baba Sus's address can be a little confusing; it is said to be located at Camberwell on Urbanspoon or Glen Iris on Google Maps, but if you're catching the train, take the Alamein line to Burwood station, and it is literally behind the train stop.

If you're planning a visit, my advice is definitely to get in early as there was a long queue by the time we were done at around 11-ish. Hope you'll enjoy the food as much as we did! :)

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Updated 25th April: It was raining this morning and we wanted to go somewhere close by as my tummy was grumbling in hunger.

We decided to revisit Baba Sus again as it is only a short 5 minutes drive away and thankfully the wait wasn't too long. :)

I was really keen to try the mocha so I ordered myself a cuppa. I very shamelessly asked if I could get a cute coffee art as seen on Baba Sus's Instagram and was rewarded with this little piglet. Heh, so so cute!

The Boyfriend on the other hand was after something a little more refreshing so he ordered a Lemmy Lemonade. I love how cute the packaging of the bottle is, and it is actually one of the nicest bottled lemonade I've ever had. Lemmy Lemonade originates from New Zealand - we're definitely going to look out for this brand next time.

Although The Boyfriend really wanted to re-order the soba noodles, I convinced him to try something different. He opted for The Piglette - Asian inspired pulled pork omelette with mushrooms, chilli jam and bean shoot salad on the side.

This dish was very delicious; the omelette was cooked to perfection and the pulled pork was tender, full of flavour and had a good spice. Although the bean shoots were a little too raw for our liking, I will still give this dish a thumbs up for the great flavour combination!

We came back mainly for these Hong Kong Egg Waffles that I was eyeing since the last visit. Thankfully it did not let me down. The egg waffles were soft and deliciously paired with vanilla custard, green tea ice cream, berry compote, and pistachio praline.

It would have been perfect if it was a tad crispier on the outside but I still enjoyed it regardless. I hope they bring a savoury version of these ้›ž่›‹ไป” with bacon and maple syrup next!

Now that I've tried all the dishes that I was eyeing before, I guess we'll be returning only when they introduce the winter menu. ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mama's Buoi, in Melbourne GPO

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to Mama's Buoi menu tasting dinner and boy oh boy, I could barely contain my excitement.

I've walked past Mama Buoi's several times prior to receiving the invitation and I've also read about the Mama's Buoi in Sydney and well, all I remember seeing was "caramelised pork belly" and I was sold!

So after a quick shop around H&M in Melbourne GPO, I found myself walking through Postal Lane right next door towards Mama Buoi.

I vaguely remember how this space used to be a simple Japanese restaurant and it's now been revamped, complete with the use of bright neon lights, which I love.

To start, George from Wasamedia suggested that I try the AK Sour. As I wasn't feeling 100% that night, I opted for the mocktail version. Oh, it was sweet and delicious!!

Winston of The Hungry Excavator who was also present at the event, very kindly offered me a sip of his alcoholic version which I also liked.

I love their innovative take on their drinks menu, the highlight being this savoury Pho cocktail. I know right! It's not a warm drink, just in case you were wondering. But it really does taste like chicken pho and so delicious.

We kick started with some entree, the first being the chicken and pork liver pate with sesame crackers. I'll be honest and say I don't often have pate as I sometimes find them being a little overwhelming for my tastebuds, but Mama's version was great. It was smooth and went really well with the light sesame crackers.

Next up we had the pulled duck pancakes with hoi sin sauce. I found this dish to be delightful on the palate, but the dish was not outstanding in my opinion.

We then had rice noodles stuffed with pork, mushroom and fried shallot. I find this dish to be similar to the "cheong fun" we have at dim sum, but the addition of lap cheong and fried shallot brings it up to the next level. Mmmm, delicious!

Never mind the pickled vegetables, the phrase "roast pork belly and crackling" is all it takes to send us all into a frenzy. I love that it had a good ratio of meat to crackling. And the crackling, it could be a little bit crispier, but pretty good.

The crispy shell-on school prawns makes an easy snack, served with salt, pepper and lemon. Squeeze the lemon juice into the salt and pepper mix, then dip prawns in for an extra citrusy kick. So delicious and easy to eat, you won't stop at just one or two.

The steak roll Vietnamese salad wrapped with citrus and green chilli dressing is currently off the menu, however although the flavours did work together, this was my least favourite dish that night as I found the meat a little too chewy for my liking.

We had a little break in between before we moved on to the mains that came served with rice. The ginger chicken stir fry with bok choy was definitely very nostalgic, it tasted like my Mum's home-cooking which instantly turns it into a comforting dish.

It was a dish Mummy dearest cooked very often when I was growing up in Malaysia, and it was also the first dish I learnt how to cook when I arrived in Melbourne a decade ago.

We also had this really delicious steamed barramundi wrapped in bamboo with lemongrass, chilli and citrus dressing. It is currently also off the menu but the fish was fresh and the dressing was perfect. I reckon it should most definitely be popped on the menu as I would love to come back for this and I could easily finish this on my own.

Last but not least, the caramelised pork belly braised in coconut juice and served with boiled egg, the winning dish that inspired the opening of Mama's Buoi.

The pork belly was tender and delicious. In fact, I find this dish to taste very similar to the Chinese style "Hong Bak" except that the sauce was a little sweeter, I presume from the use of coconut juice, and not as thick and black too.

It is like a cross between "hong bak" and "tau yu bak". So hearty and comforting - perfect with a bowl of jasmine rice.

As I often save the best for last, my ultimate favourite dish of the night was the reconstructed canh chua (sour soup) with fried crispy noodles, mussels, calamari and prawn. It was my first time having canh chua and I was absolutely sold!

The sweet and sour pineapple-based broth was so addictively good, I was wanting more. There was even little bite-sized pineapple which added a delicious tangy-ness to the broth.

I believe this isn't yet on the menu, but I say yet because I really really hope Mama's Buoi will start serving this soon as I am looking forward to going back for more!

We finished with dessert of course to wrap up our delicious meal; reconstructed three colour drink with black jelly, pandan jelly, rum and mung bean puree, basil seeds, jack fruit and coconut milk.

Mama's Buoi on Urbanspoon
Thank you Mama for feeding me. All I will say is that Mama knows best and I left feeling really happy and satisfied!

I recently introduced my SIL and her siblings to Mama's Buoi, and they've been raving about how amazing the food is ever since.

My SIL and I are already planning to go back for dinner with a group of friends, so we could all have some cocktails and try more dishes. I can't wait! See you soon, Mama!

Disclaimer: The Bakeanista dined as guest of Wasamedia, courtesy of Mama's Buoi. My reviews and thoughts are 101% honest, and I am looking forward to return already!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dare 1 on Little Londales Street

Every time we walked past, Dare 1 was always packed. On some nights, you may find a queue snaking out the door, which means if you've not made a booking, chances are you wouldn't be able to secure a table.

My SIL and I have both been eyeing the dessert - watermelon with milky shaved ice - that gets everyone going WOW! when walking past. I mean it looks impressive and sure does make you go "Let's try that!"

So I put us down for a table one Friday evening and we all arrived respectively after work. We arrived 15 minutes ahead of time at 6.15pm and were told "Sorry we cannot seat you until 6.30pm," and they shut the door in our face, and strolled back in.

It wasn't even packed yet during that hour, so why not? There were a lot of empty tables, surely you can put us down at one of the empty tables for four? I don't understand!

Service was atrocious, and it did not get any better throughout the night. Plates were placed down relentlessly, none of the waitstaff smiled at us, in fact they all wore a straight face.

Each time we rang the buzzer for some assistance, someone would appear giving us the "what else do you want" kind of face. It was like they didn't want to be there.

We felt a little bit better after we were served with a complimentary corn cheese - a snack we all really love. The melted cheese was blow-torched to perfection and tasted fantastic, we thought great, never mind the service, we were in for a treat!

The eomukguk (fish cake soup) wasn't bad, but neither was it impressive. It was just mediocre, and as I often make eomukguk at home using the traditional recipe (boiled kombu and radish broth) I felt like it was crazily overpriced.

Things started going downhill from hereon, as the egg roll with cheese was really really bland. All I could taste was mayo and tomato sauce. Joomak's version wins hands down!

As for the spicy fried chicken with melted cheese... Man, it does looks good when it arrived at our table, all of us were going "oooh, yummy!" But one bite was all it took to change our minds.

It wasn't great, the batter was soggy, the sauce was bland, and the chicken pieces were so small we felt like we were all eating just the batter alone.

And onto dessert, the finale which we were looking forward to - watermelon with milky shaved ice. This was the main reason why we were enticed by Dare 1 and whilst it was refreshing (duh! watermelon!), it did not taste great nor impressive to say the least.

It really is just watermelon, scooped into balls, topped with shaved ice and drizzled with milk. And for $20, that's a killer!

I really don't mean to bring restaurants down, but this place is definitely a big no-no for us all. At the end of the dinner, all four of us vowed never to return again.

Dare1 on Urbanspoon
The place was set up well with good ambience and Kpop rocking in the background; it'd be perfect for dinner dates or catch up meals with friends, but the food was unfortunately just not up to par.

At least not for us.

Oh, we were let down so terribly bad, we walked out the door saying "Should we go to Gami to make it up to ourselves?"
Click on 'OLDER POSTS' for more! :)